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Wedding plans almost fall flat

You could blame his youth. He was only 21.

Or you could blame the heat. It was, after all, August in Mississippi, and I had insisted on tails.

But for whatever the reason, my impetuous groom and his agreeable best man decided to take a little drive just minutes before our wedding ceremony was to begin. Thirty, to be exact.

Back then, there was no wedding coordinator to keep them corralled. No photographer snapping candids in the guys’ dressing room.

So why not?

“I just wanted to show him your house,” my husband maintains to this day.

Details are sketchy, but from what I’ve gathered in the years since, the joy riders suddenly found themselves a bit over dressed. They had a flat to fix. Fast.

Meanwhile, my bridesmaids and I had just finished watching the mothers being seated in all their chiffon glory when I felt a tug on my sleeve. (Yes, wedding dresses had sleeves back in the 1980s.) I turned to look into the strained face of my father and vaguely recall the preacher whispering, “The groom isn’t here.”

I think my heart stopped. I know for sure, however, that my imagination didn’t.

Had he changed his mind? Don’t cry now. There’s makeup to consider.

Had I been stood up? Surely not. He booked flights to the Bahamas.

What about our future together? Now that’s when I got upset.

Fortunately, this was a manly man I was betrothed to, quite adept at tire changing. Long before tears had time to travel the course of my cathedral-length train I was kneeling at the wedding altar by my handsome better half.

So we laugh about it now – the strange mix of tuxedo jackets and lug wrenches littering the side of Highway 4, the glares from my sidewalk-pacing preacher and father, the greasy hands that held mine when we said our vows.

I’m not so sure my dad or the preacher ever did, though.

But maybe it’s learning to laugh about all those “flats” that surprise us in marriage that has served us well. At least it gave us a wedding story to tell, one good enough to win us dinner at Jackson’s old Dennery’s – and chocolates and roses – in a contest long ago.

And so on those rare occasions when I spot a green 1977 Monte Carlo, I remember (with some degree of fondness) the one upon which that world’s fastest tire change occurred, the same one that was wearing a spare when we drove away together.

Twenty-six years ago today.

Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at kimhenderson319@gmail.com.